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Gantz reiterates refusal to sit with Netanyahu, says he wants to be PM

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks at the Aspen Security Conference on July 21, 2022. (Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks at the Aspen Security Conference on July 21, 2022. (Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz says his focus in the upcoming elections is first to prevent Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition from getting a majority in the Knesset, and then to create an alternative coalition.

“If Netanyahu does not get 61 seats, the game opens anew. Then everyone will do their calculations,” Gantz tells Channel 13, as part of a series of interviews he gave to a number of Israeli news outlets.

“Netanyahu must not return to power. He must not be the prime minister, and he can’t be a minister,” Gantz says.”

However, Gantz says he does ultimately hope to become prime minister following November’s election.

“It’s no secret that I want to be a candidate for the premiership. I want this country to go in the right direction,” he says.

“I believe that I will have the ability to build a wide government… one that does not rest on the extremes,” Gantz says.

He is unequivocal about his refusal to be in a government with Netanyahu again, even if Netanyahu does indeed get a majority. Gantz notes that a number of offers were floated over the past years in which he could have led a coalition with the Likud.

“I could have been prime minister and I’m not. I think I’m serious enough about this,” he says.

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